May 052014
 
Compound Butter

Compound butter is, quite simply, a softened butter into which you have stirred/mashed/infused/incorporated other flavorings. It’s an old workhorse of French cuisine, and it’s incredibly easy to whip one up. Herbs of all stripes, aromatic vegetables such as onion, garlic, peppers, or shallots, soft cooked fruits, spices, flavorful roots such as horseradish or ginger, assorted salts, miso, hot sauce, citrus zest, and/or sweet flavorings such as honey, maple syrup, or pomegranate molasses, are all excellent candidates for inclusion in a compound butter. I like to do a peach-honey compound butter at the height of summer, to melt over cornbread and […]

Apr 152014
 
Eat More Greens: Reasonably Quick Saag Paneer

If there is a more flavorful way to eat greens than as Saag Paneer, I’m not sure what it is.  While it’s a must-have dish every time we go out for Indian food, I’ve also been whipping it up at home– with various degrees of success– for at least a decade. I’ve settled on the recipe below– it’s a good compromise for me between authenticity, flavor, ease of prep, and preservation of all those vitamins in the greens. (That’s why, though it’s more common to blanch the greens and discard their cooking water, along with all the vitamins in it, […]

Dec 302013
 
Bourbon Berry Winter Cocktail

  We try to eat berries every day in the indieculinary household– there’s a lot of evidence that berries are a potent superfood, important for optimal health. Plus they’re delicious. Win-win. In the winter, though, when they’re out of season, we’re largely relegated to frozen berries. One can only eat so many yogurt-and-berry bowls.  I could make a cobbler, crisp, or other baked delight, but holiday treat season is over and it’s back to a little law and order around here. Enter the berry cocktail! We’ll have our berries and drink them, too. (You’ll notice any attempts at law and […]

Dec 132013
 
Triple Lemon Rosemary Polenta Cookies, and some notes on cookie presentation

  I made this cookie yesterday for Slow Food Santa Cruz‘s Annual Holiday Party, which this year featured not only a fantastic pour of wines from Vinocruz, but also a holiday cookie exchange. Never one to let this sort of opportunity pass without making things as stressful as possible on myself, I decided to try out a brand-new recipe, one I’d only just devised and was basing on someone else’s recipe, located on the internet, which I’d never before tested. 2 hours before the party. What could go wrong? I will temper the suspense a bit by mentioning that by […]

Dec 102013
 
Cranberry Cardamom Bread with Satsuma Caramel Glaze

  So– Thanksgiving, aka High Holy Day for Cooks, has come and gone. And you are left with, shall we say, an imbalance of leftovers. The guests fell upon the remains of the Maple Jalapeno Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts like vultures; the turkey and mashed potatoes were swiftly packaged up for later; the sweet potato crisp was claimed in the spirit of a conquering nation setting flags upon distant shores. But the remainders of the cranberry sauce, of which you admittedly make too much each year, sit alone and unclaimed upon the table, despite the tart and citrus-infused deliciousness. It’s […]

Nov 192013
 
Persimmon Pumpkin Hazelnut Bread, with tips on choosing persimmons and peeling hazelnuts

I’ve adapted this recipe from one my mom made for years when I was a kid– she followed it faithfully every autumn.  The house filled with wonderful aromas while it baked. My dad still has her recipe card from the 70’s; true to the era, it calls for canned pineapple. (I feel like half the recipes of my childhood involved canned pineapple.) I love the design on this recipe card. In this updated recipe, I use this pumpkin bread palette to highlight seasonal ingredients, so I drop the canned pineapple, raisins, and walnuts and swap in diced Fuyu persimmon, pureed Hachiya persimmon, […]

Oct 212013
 
Sriracha Honey-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  I’ve read some rumblings of pumpkin fatigue on the web, this past week or so, but I’m nowhere near there yet myself. Whenever I roast a pumpkin, I try to do something interesting with the seeds. They make a great snack and it always seems a waste to throw them out. This afternoon, I wanted something sweet and spicy, and I knew a snack would be well-received in the indieculinary household.  So I cleaned the pumpkin goo off my seeds, rinsed them, and tossed them with olive oil, sriracha, honey, and crunchy Maldon sea salt. Then I stuck them […]

Oct 032013
 
Three Bean Chorizo Chili, and Some Tips on Building and Layering Flavor in Your Own Recipe

I understand from my Facebook feed that something called “football season” has begun. My interest in the sport starts and stops with the prospect of making something yummy to be eaten during a Super Bowl party in January. To this end, I am aware that chili (robust, spicy, pairs well with beer, can be made in advance) is a popular food to accompany football viewing. There are those who say beans have no place in chili. These people are wrong. Beans add contrasting texture, body, flavor, and color. And they go spectacularly well with cheese. You want to cover your […]

Jul 082013
 
A Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Shortbread Tart

This recipe was developed for Slow Food Santa Cruz. We are flush with berries here on the Central Coast, and it’s been strawberry season for well over a month now. If you’re a local, you’ve eaten them fresh, out of hand. You’ve had them over yogurt, and in salads. Now, it’s time to get indulgent. With our local strawberries still at the peak of ripeness, make a Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Shortbread Tart. In this formulation, you will crown crisp, buttery shortbread with glistening strawberries, nestling them into a rich, dark chocolate ganache. The strawberries used in developing this recipe are […]

Jul 062013
 
Muhammara Popcorn Crunch

Sometimes you just need to mix up your home popcorn flavors. We’re hardly popcorn traditionalists in the indieculinary household. Butter and salt are nice, but they’re usually pushed aside in favor of some manner of hot sauce. This new popcorn recipe is one of my favorite flavor combinations in a while. I came up with it for yet another Food52 contest, (Your Best Roadtrip Snack), and here’s how it came about, from my write-up for their site: When I think back on the best road trip snack I’ve ever had, I remember driving through wine country with good friends. We […]